By  on January 25, 2005

PARIS — Fashion’s revolving door has a new twist: Exit only.

In another symptom of the growing malaise between the suits and the studio, Prada Group said Monday that Helmut Lang has resigned as creative director of the fashion house he founded 19 years ago and made synonymous with minimalist, edgy cool.

WWD first reported on Jan. 19 that the Austrian-born designer and the Italian fashion conglomerate were heading for a rupture.

A brief statement from Prada Group echoed the perfunctory tone last November when the Italian fashion conglomerate parted ways for the second time with designer Jil Sander from her eponymous house. No explanation was given for the split with Lang.

But, as reported, the two sides long have been at odds over the direction and development of the Lang fashion house, upon which Prada Group tightened its grip last fall by buying the 49 percent it needed to gain full control.

In the release, Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli thanked Lang “for his commitment to ensuring a smooth transition, and for his achievements over the years. He built a brand with a strong identity and unique positioning within the fashion world. We will build on this and move quickly to provide the appropriate support to the company and develop the brand’s potential.”

The company declined further comment; however, it is understood Bertelli was in the Helmut Lang offices in New York Monday to deliver the news to employees.

The release noted that Lang’s remaining design team would develop the upcoming fall-winter women’s collection. It has not yet been determined if it will be shown on the runway during Paris Fashion Week in March.

Lang also declined to comment beyond the press release, in which he declared: “I would like to thank everyone, particularly my team and all the petites mains [seamstresses] and all the press and buyers who have supported the company in the past years.”

According to sources, Lang has a noncompete clause in his employment contract with Prada that forbids him to work in any related business for six months. However, the 46-year-old is not expected to walk off into the sunset and has told intimates that he will consider new opportunities within and beyond fashion.

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